Thursday, March 13, 2008

TechOnWeb -- frUAdulent, or just clueless?

I've been shopping for a new ultraportable laptop for a while now. There is a particular laptop I think is really neat, but it's not available at the local stores. So I've been trying to order it online. The first place I ordered it from told me they are out of stock (even though their website said it was in stock) and didn't know when they were going to have them, so I canceled my order. Then I placed an order for the same laptop on You would think a store with a motto "where geeks go shopping" would know what they are doing.

I thought I was a geek. It turned out I'm a frUAd

The next day I got an email from their fruad (sic!) department. Yes, their representative misspelled the name of his department in his signature line! Anyway, the email said I needed to call their customer service to confirm my order. It was "a security measure that we take to ensure your online purchase is secure". I called, spoke with a customer service rep, answered the questions he asked me. The rep told me my laptop will ship the next day.

A week has passed and I haven't got any notice that the laptop has shipped. I logged into my account at website to check the status of my order. It said "canceled". I called them to ask why was my order canceled (and why didn't they inform me by email or phone call? That's just rude.) The customer service lady said, my order was flagged as fraudulent and won't be processed. I was very surprised. I told her I had called the customer service as soon as they told me to do so, and answered all their questions; what was the problem? She couldn't answer that, only said that my order was sent up to the fraud department supervisor to investigate, and they determined my order was fraudulent. Period. I asked, what do I need to do to prove that I am who I say I am? She said, nothing can be done at this point, we won't process your order. That's it.

I asked to speak to the supervisor; she said sure, and "transferred" me; I've long guessed that by "transfer" customer service reps mean hang up. The call was disconnected -- this has happened to me many times when calling customer service.

All this gave me a creepy feeling if, perchance, TechOnWeb was some kind of scam outfit that pretends to be an online store but is actually out to de"fruad" its customers. Come to think about it, during the "security measure" phone call they had asked me several kinds of information which may make it easier for someone to steal my identity. I checked the status of the credit card I gave them, and I didn't see any suspicious activity on it. Of course, that doesn't mean anything in itself. Anyway, I don't seriously think they are a scam; most likely just rude and clueless. Some place for geeks to shop, indeed.


condor said...

I've had nothing but good results ordering from techonweb. Their customer service was excellent and the products shipped ontime or sooner. You should be careful who you are calling fruadulent because that is setting yourself up for a lawsuit. It pays to know what you are talking about before your post.

Elze said...

I did not accuse them of fraud. I simply said their behavior was so unprofessional and un-businesslike that it made me uneasy about whether something worse than mere cluelessness was underlying it. After watching my credit card for a while, I was relieved that my fears didn't come true. I didn't notice any suspicious activity on my card. So I conclude TechonWeb folks are merely unprofessional, but not malicious. As far as your good experiences with them -- you are lucky. You could have just as easily been in my place.